Stanley Donen, the last of the mythical filmmakers of the golden Hollywood, has died today according to has confirmed one of his sons to Michael Phillips, critic of Chicago Tribune. Co-director with Gene Kelly of A day in New York Y Singing under the rain, and responsible for One face with an angel, Charade, Two on the road or Mess in Rio, with Donen, a way of making movies that emerged from the great studios disappears. That's why no film has been filmed since it premiered in 1984 Mess in Rio. "They want me to do my old movies again, but they're done," he said.
Donen was born in Columbia (South Carolina) on April 13, 1924, although he said that he actually saw the light when, at the age of nine, he saw Fred Astaire and Dolores del Río dance in Flying to Rio de Janeiro: "It seemed to me that life was worth living thanks to Fred Astaire. " Its childhood was marked by the monotony of the small southern community, to which it added certain social isolation by its Jewish ancestry. As a child he studied music, piano and clarinet, forced by his father, until in his teens he decided to imitate Astaire and focus on the tap. At the age of 16 he left for New York, where a year later he made his Broadway debut as a choir boy at the play. Pal Joey, where it coincided with Gene Kelly, who stars, and George Abbott, who directed, and with the help of both went from dancer to choreographer.
Following Kelly, Donen came to Hollywood in the early forties: Kelly demanded that he be his personal assistant in The models Y Lifting anchors In 1949 Donen finally debuted behind the scenes with One day in New York, who co-directed with Kelly. Such was his friendship with Kelly, that they even shared a wife: in different decades, yes.
Romantic and optimistic, his innovative choreography (like that of Fred Astaire dancing on the ceiling and the walls of a room in Royal Weddings) and his technical mastery (he was the first director of musicals to successfully use CinemaScope) placed him as the king of the musical genre-with the permission of Vincente Minnelli- with titles such as Singing in the rain, Seven brides for seven brothers, Always good weather, A face with an angel, The pajama game or We will be champions.
With the decline of the genre, the filmmaker was transformed during the sixties into a director of sophisticated and intimate romantic comedies, among which his collaborations with CAry Grant in Indiscreta (together with Ingrid Bergman) and Blank page (beside Deborah Kerr), and versions hitchcockianas as Charade (again with Cary Grant) and Arabesque. Another of her great collaborators and friends was Audrey Hepburn.
Since 1965, it will be difficult to find scripts at his height and he already does everything, with very different results: from a spectacular romantic drama (Two on the road) up to science fiction (Saturn 3), going through sexual comedies (Stairs Y Mess in Rio), parodies (The adventures of Lucky Lady Y Movie, Movie) and farces (Bedazzled). Despite the popular memory, only 11 of the 27 films directed by Donen are musical. "Dancing, when I did it, is the hardest thing in the world that you can imagine. For me it was the hardest thing. Because the body is very limited. I can only find the conception of a number, but not the conception of the physical movement in the dance that gives meaning to the number. So I feel deeply for having had people like Bob Fosse. " His last work was the telefilm Love letters, which he shot in 1999 for cable television. Married five times, father of three children, his current partner was the director, screenwriter and actress Elaine May.
Donen was never very given to speeches. And he did not like the tributes either. He received the Donostia prize – in San Sebastian he had already won the Golden Shell with Two on the road-, although he did not like the tributes. At the 1997 Oscars – he never won a nomination – he received the statuette of honor from Martin Scorsese, and right there he began to sing Cheek to Cheek, of Irving Berlin, a song that in the movies was first sung by his admired Fred Astaire: "" Heaven, I'm in heaven, any my heart beats so that I can hardly speak … "